Toyota hooks up with Ford

Toyota-Ford hybrid truck announcement

The enemy of my enemy is my friend – Arabian proverb

When you go big game hunting you bring big guns. They don’t get much bigger than this. You don’t think these guys have General Motors in their sights, do you?

Toyota and Ford have announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) providing for the collaboration of development of a hybrid drive system for light trucks and SUVs. A carefully worded press release offered by both companies lauded the hybrid technology developed by each as the driving factor in this agreement. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look beyond to the number one selling truck maker in the United States for over 30 years running deciding to partner with the number one selling hybrid manufacturer to join forces in this effort (3.3 million Prii sold to date).

With America’s taste for trucks not showing any sign of abating, and Uncle Sam’s continued pressure to move the fuel economy needle, new technologies, new ideas and new directions needed to be found. Certainly, going the hybrid route in the light-duty truck market is innovative thinking. For any number of reasons, many Americans just can’t seem to come to grips with owning a diesel vehicle, unless it’s been a 800 pounds/feet of torque, stump-pulling monster of a truck. The idea of putting a clean diesel in most vehicles is seen as anathema. The question is – if they build it, will it sell?

Ford sold over 49,000 F-150 trucks in July and 40% of those were the 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6 turbo. Clearly the light truck buyer has no qualms about buying something other than a V8. In fact, combined sales of all V6 F-150’s amounted to 56% of total July sales. The EcoBoost V6 Turbo is a powerful engine, with 365 horsepower and 420 pounds/feet of torque, 90% of which is available from 1,700 to 5,000 RPM. This particular powerplant offers more power and more torque than Ford’s 5.0 liter V8 with better fuel efficiency. We think that if buyers are offered a hybrid alternative, if they can be convinced of its reliability and durability, along with its capability, they just may have put together a winning package.

Oh yeah… Toyota will probably sell some hybrid Tundra’s too. Our initial take on this is that Ford will likely benefit more than Toyota, but we shall see.

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